February is a month full of hearts, and I'm not only referring to Valentine's Day. February is also American Heart Month. It is important to spread awareness this month about heart disease, the number 1 cause of death in America. Did you know that cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke combined) kills about 2,300 people a day? That's approximately 839,500 people a year!
The good news is, you can reduce your chances of heart disease by making healthier lifestyle choices every day. Here are some tips to lower your risk of heart disease:
1. NOT SMOKING
Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body, including your heart. According to fda.gov, there are 7,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke. When inhaled, these chemicals found in tobacco smoke disrupt the process of delivering oxygen-rich blood to your heart and the rest of your body, thus harming your blood cells, the function of your heart and the structure and function of your blood vessels.
People who smoke are at a higher risk of having heart disease and suffering from a heart attack. If you currently don't smoke, please don't pick up this unhealthy habit. If you are a smoker, quitting now will still benefit you no matter how long or how much you smoke.
2. GET REGULAR EXERCISE AND MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT
Exercise makes your heart muscle work more efficiently to get the blood pumping throughout your body. It is important to do a combination of aerobic and strength training at least 3-5 days a week. I recommend strength training at least 2 days a week and then adding in aerobic workouts on the other days of the week. Strength training consists of weightlifting and resistance training, and aerobic exercises range from walking, jogging/running, cycling, to swimming. Yoga is another great workout that allows your body to improve metabolism and flexibility, while reducing stress and improving mental clarity. If you exercise regularly and maintain a health weight, you can reduce your chances of getting heart disease.
3. GET ADEQUATE SLEEP
The average adult needs approximately 6-9 hours of sleep every night. If you have trouble sleeping at night, taking magnesium supplements can help with that. Magnesium is a mineral that is rich in benefits, besides helping your body relax and sleep better at night. It promotes proper heart functions, fights inflammation and lowers blood pressure.
Another tip to help you get better sleep at night is to avoid using phones, TVs and tablets at least one hour before bedtime. These devices emit blue light, which is a high-energy frequency that can actually disrupt your sleep and keep you up at night. If you must use these devices before bedtime, I recommend wearing blue light glasses, which reduces your eyes' exposure to blue light.
4. CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR & CHOLESTEROL
The best way to control blood sugar and cholesterol is to eat a healthy diet:
- Eat healthy fats - All fats aren't bad. Research actually shows that healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, nuts and fatty fish can reduce cholesterol and improve blood sugar control.
- Reduce sugar - It's ok to have sweets and give into your sugar cavings once in awhile. But if you reduce your overall sugar intake, you can decrease your blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
- Consume more vegetables - Vegetables are high in fiber and vitamins, so increasing your intake of both cooked and raw vegetables can significantly lower blood sugar and cholesterol.
- Eat nutritious foods - Fast food and highly processed foods can cause weight gain and potentially raise cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Eating whole nutrient-rich foods instead can make a big impact on your health.
5. TAKING SUPPLEMENTS
LifePharm's OMEGA+++ supplement targets your cardiovascular system for heart health. OMEGA+++ contains omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, time released CoQ10, Vitamin K2, and fertilized avian egg extract. Here is a breakdown of the ingredients:
- Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids- They have been shown to increase HDL ("good") cholesterol and decrease LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and also help eliminate plaque build-up in the arteries to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
- Time release CoQ10- CoQ10 is a compound made by your body and stored in the mitochondria of your cells. Studies have shown that CoQ10 can help improve heart health and blood sugar regulation, and also reduce oxidative damage in the body.
- Vitamin K2- The western diet lacks in Vitamin K2, which is important for removing plaque in your arteries. Having an adequate intake of Vitamin K2 has been shown to lower the risk of vascular damage by inhibiting calcium from depositing in the vessel walls.
- Fertilized Avian Egg Extract- Bioactive growth factors naturally found in this ingredient help regenerate stem cells in the body and can help prevent cardiovascular disease.